Kyrie Irving has arguably the best handles in the league and is an elite shot creator who should have the ball in his hands a lot. Gordon Hayward is a player who can create quality shots for himself and others with the ball in his hands. Maybe he was just a rookie, but Jayson Tatum showed last season (and especially in the playoffs) he can handle the rock and score. When Irving went down injured Terry Rozier stepped up and showed if you put the ball in his hands he can run a team and get buckets.
NBA rules permit only one ball on the court at a time.
Is this going to be a problem? Tatum told Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated it’s not.
“We’re all professionals. We’re gonna find a way to make it work. At the end of the day, we all want to win, so everybody has to sacrifice when you want to be a part of something special. It’s not gonna be any different for us.”
There will be some adjustment — the Celtics are not used to Hayward in the rotation — but Stevens has built a culture where guys understand that to win takes sacrifice. It takes putting the team ahead of your numbers. The locker room leaders like Al Horford get that. Irving gets it — he got his ring playing next to LeBron James, which can require massive sacrifice at times. The stars lead by example, the coach helps set that culture, and then everyone buys in.
In Boston, everyone has bought in. Which is why they are the favorites in the East. Jaylen Brown took that one more step and said the Celtics are going to the Finals, you good with that boast Tatum?
“Man, I’m always going to back up my teammates. I’m not saying that we’re gonna be able to skip steps. We gotta take it one game at a time. I just hope that we stay healthy this year and see what we can do.”